He puts on the uniform every day, even though no one comes.
No. That’s not true. Shepard reminds himself. Every day, lieutenant James Vega comes to shepard’s cell quarters. They go out for his one-hour allowed “outside time” for a run or a game of hoops in HQ’s rooftop activity area. Shepard isn’t supposed to be able to see the guards, but he knows they’re there, and each time he’s out there, he makes a game with himself of spotting them, then working out the fastest escape route after he incapacitates them all, including James.
Sometimes they play chess when the weather is bad. Once, they even let him bring Shepard a model kit, and James just sat and watched while Shepard fit the tiny pieces together. He wondered if it was some kind of message from high command that the ship they’d allowed James to bring him was a geth fighter. He wasn’t allowed to keep it afterwards anyways.
Every week, an evaluator from the Alliance stops by as well, to speak with him. It’s a different doctor each time. He knows what they’re trying to do. Catch him in an inconsistency about the Collectors and the Reapers, and see if he’s a homicidal maniac who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of batarians for either a slow-burn revenge for Elysium or because of his evil space-god delusions.
What he tells them, every time, is that the precious time he bought the galaxy with their lives (and it haunts him every night, that choice) is ticking away while they talk about whether or not he might be crazy.
But no one else. He has no idea how Liara is, Zaeed, Garrus… although all of them are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. He worries about Thane’s illness, about Miranda and her sister. He misses Kasumi’s sly laugh and Mordin’s terrible singing.
He writes letters (no email. no computer. no periodicals. only a heavily-edited selection of old-school books and single use datapads with a heavily edited selection of topics) to them that he knows will never actually reach their intended recipients (they’ll be sent to code analysis then destroyed or filed, and he knows that, which is why he occasionally writes things like “the spotted varren flies at midnight” in them, because fuck alliance cryptography, anyways.)
He writes letters, lots of letters, to Kaidan as well. Always in his head, because he knows the things he want to say to him would be so much better left out of the hands of their superiors.
The room is better than a cell, he supposes, remembering the way they made a makeshift one for him alone on the Normandy. Remembering how Anderson had told him he would make the committee listen, but they had to lock him up for show.
Because people were afraid of him.
It had to be for show, because no restraints, no lock on a door, no amount of armed (frightened) guards were capable of keeping an N7-trained-biotic-vanguard-cyborg marine anywhere is didn’t actually choose to be.
And when he looks out his window at the children playing, he makes himself remember why he chooses to be here, locked in a room and writing letters in his head, answering the same damn questions instead of being on the Normandy, helping find ways to stop or delay the Reapers.
I’ll do my best. He thinks, watching a little boy pretend to fly through the stars. I’ll do my best to keep all of you safe.